Thursday, March 28, 2013

My New Digs Where I Can Get Digging

Before moving on to the real post, I'd first like to invite you folks who read this blog to check out a guest post I had on the popular Vegansaurus! blog recently called Vegan Pierogie Night in PittsburghIt's exciting for me to have written something maybe people actually read!  I know that Pittsburgh vegans were right pleased with it, at least.

I moved out of my sister's apartment and into a small house in Oakland,California that's owned by a punk rock vegetarian librarian.  At first, only he and I lived here, but a little over a week after my arrival, his girlfriend moved in as well.  They both seem like cool, progressive people.  The best part, though, is the backyard, where there is plenty of room to garden, plus a fully-grown lemon tree and a baby avocado tree!
The avocado tree is flowering in the front, lovely lemons in the back.
A lemon tree is an amazing thing to be able to access at all hours!  You have no idea how often I've thought I had everything I needed to make hummus, then while I was making it I realized I didn't have a lemon and had to walk or bicycle somewhere to grab one.  Now I can stay more-or-less stationary and just go to the fenced-in yard, possibly while wearing pajamas.  The lemons are all huge and weird-shaped, but they are still great.
It's hard to tell from this angle that this lemon is round, not the shape you find in stores.
It's spring now, and here on the west coast of the US, it's warm enough to start putting down seeds, but the garden area needs a lot of work and investment, and although I want very badly to do this, I just cannot afford the things I'd need to get started.  Right now, the backyard is basically a playground for local cats.
She's winking at me!
The cats are scared of people and I can't decide whether to discourage them from hanging around my future garden or befriend them with food and sitting still in a non-threatening way.  I guess I'll do the sitting still but not the food, especially since cats are carnivores and I don't have anything to feed them.  By the way, check out the large compost area that's behind her.  Awesome, right?

That's the backyard in full.  Truly, lots of room for growing plants.  It gets a lot of sunlight and I can see birds in the morning that are different from any of the ones I ever spotted on the east coast.  So cool.  I love it.  Birds sing all day as though I was in the middle of nature instead of in the middle of a bad neighborhood, like I really am.

I don't know what all my neighbors are growing, but just over the fence by the avocado tree, check out this view.
 Whoa.  What all is in there?  I don't know, but I think it's awesome.  And here's another part of the neighbor's yard that's visible over the fence:
So lovely it hurts!  All container gardening, though, that's kind of unusual, I guess.

The most important thing, as always, is the kitchen.  The good: it's light and fairly large.  The bad: the freezer does not work (I cannot live like that for long), there is no microwave (I can get used to that), and the stove is very old (but so far seems fine).
Yes, the sign above the stove does say "THERE IS NO GOD."
I'm not totally comfortable here yet, but I've done a little cooking.  I lived alone for a long time and I'm not completely sure of the right way to interact with a housemate.  It's weird to enter into someone's already-full home.  I am relieved that at least it's an animal meat-free zone.  My housemate tells me he used to be vegan, but reverted to cheese-eating.  That seems to happen with a lot of people who, like him, do not cook.  It's what I'm going to call, "the pizza siren" from now on.  Dude just couldn't resist the call of the easily-accessible dairy cheese pizza.  He also has chicken's eggs in the fridge, but I've never seen him use one.  I don't feel judgy about it because at least he's a vegetarian and eats fairly plant-strong most of the time.  Our fridge is filled with fruit and veggies.

From Viva Vegan!, I made the Quinoa-Oyster Mushroom Risotto (recipe is here).  I don't have any ají amarillo or ají panca paste but I added some achiote paste and it was delicious.  I also sautéed some kale in my favorite way:  a few cloves of garlic minced and cooked in oil, then kale, tamari (maybe just under a tablespoon for the 20oz of kale I was cooking), and water as needed for moisture.  I just mixed my greens into the Quinoa Risotto, and also threw pinto beans into it.  Yum!  Plus, I roasted some cauliflower just with olive oil, lemon juice (fresh from the backyard), salt, and pepper.
Even though I feel a bit lost and rootless and jobless in California (though simultaneously happy and grateful to be here), I always feel better when I eat good healthy, varied food like this.  Also, I've been eating great big salads every day and I feel and look great, even if my mind is suffering from a bit of worried chaos. 

1 comment:

  1. The cauliflower looks so good. There's something about roasted cauliflower that always makes me feel happy. It's hard to be uprooted and living in a new place. Hopefully you'll have a job soon and that should help with feeling more grounded. I still feel a little at odds with where I live, even after three years.


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